While you may have heard about ‘gleaning’, do you actually know what it is? In a gardening and nature context, gleaning is about the gathering of leftover grain or other product after a harvest.
Long Table Harvest, which serves Columbia, Dutchess and Greene Counties, is a non-profit organization that enables sustainable food surplus redistribution by connecting local farm surpluses with emergency food sites and community based organizations.
Unfortunately, the current state of food insecurity is such that food pantries and other sites continue to report record high usage, upwards of 50% increases since 2020, which has been attributed both to the pandemic and the current imbalance in the cost of living relative to wages. When Long Table Harvest was established in 2016, they stepped into an emergency food system that was lacking in quality fresh food options. Since then, they have provided a unique food distribution service to a variety of sites -- providing fresh produce, meat and dairy from predominantly organic growers to improve options and accessibility.
Their gleaning program, launched in 2016, is based on strong partnerships with area farms which provide reliable weekly distributions of fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins to food pantries, youth programs, senior living centers, subsidized housing, and community organizations. They work with over 64 farms from June through November, to pick-up already harvested produce, and then distributing tens of thousands of pounds of food to over 30 recipient sites on the same day to maintain peak freshness. Gleaning in the winter months is more sporadic, with the occasional distribution of storage vegetables. A seedling program helps residents grow their own food and a meat and cheese program rounds out the types of food that is distributed.
Learn from co-founder, Aravah Berman-Mirkin, and gleaning coordinator, Sarah Grinberg about their work and its impact on local food pantries and the community.
Hosts: Tim Kennelty and Annie Scibienski
Guests: Aravah Berman-Mirkin and Sarah Grinberg
Photo by: Tim Kennelty
Production Support: Linda Aydlett, Teresa Golden and Annie Scibienski
Last updated September 15, 2023